Budget promises on their way

A Libeties local, Joe explains how he's affected by the Budget

Joe, a Liberties local, explains how he’s affected by the Budget. Photo by Amy Grehan

Ireland’s seventh austerity Budget warned it would be ‘tough’ – and it was.

With January just around the corner, here are some of the main points coming into effect throughout the month;

  • Per-item prescription charges are to increase to €2.50 per item – this charge began as a 50 cent levy in 2010. The monthly cap is €25 per family. Some chemists could bring this into effect in December.

  • One-Parent Family Tax Credit is to be replaced with a new Single Person Child Carer Tax Credit from 1 January 2014. The new credit will be to the same value but will be available only to the principal carer of the child.

  • Child Benefit will be standardised at €130 per month for each child.

  • Persons claiming jobseekers allowance aged 18-24 will receive a reduced rate of €100 per week, claimants turning 25 from January will receive €144.

  • The rate of Deposit Interest Retention Tax (DIRT) will be increased from 33% to 41%.

  • The 0.6% stamp duty levy on pension fund assets is to increase to 0.75%.

  • The minimum contribution towards Rent Supplement and Mortgage Interest Supplement for couples will be increased by €5 per week, from €35 to €40.

  • The Telephone Allowance will be discontinued for existing and new recipients, saving €44 million.

  • The annual payment to RTÉ for the Free TV Licence will reduce by €5 million.

  • The State Pension (Transition) will no longer be paid.

  • The higher weekly Invalidity Pension rate of €230.30, paid when claimants reach age 65, will be discontinued. The rate payable to people aged 65 (and under) will be €193.50 per week. Existing 65 year olds are unaffected.

  • The Bereavement Grant of €850 will be discontinued.

  • The Mortgage Interest Supplement scheme will be discontinued for new entrants.

  • €5 million will be provided to assist the roll-out of a national trading-online voucher scheme, aimed at getting 2,000 small Irish businesses trading online.

People from the Liberties area, voiced their concerns over the impending Budget changes:

Joe, told The Liberty: “Only one thing from this year’s budget mainly affects me, and that’s the stamp duty levy on pension fund assets increasing from 0.6% to 0.75%. However, that is not a major increase in the overall context. I thought that budget 2014 was indeed tough but it was fair.”

The budget has been criticized for its decisions affecting the elderly, with one member of the public, voicing her own concerns.

Mary Maloney, on Kevin St, said: “I am on ten different tablets a day from my chemist so my monthly prescription will be dearer; it all adds up. I think that it is always the little nitty gritty things in the budget which affects the older generation but the budget is always tough.”

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